litlover12: (AG)
This post is for the British Invaders Blogathon at A Shroud of Thoughts.

Novelist Daphne du Maurier is best known for Gothic romances like Rebecca; her 1957 novel The Scapegoat -- part mystery, part thriller, part domestic drama -- though excellent, has largely flown under the radar. A recent BBC adaptation starring Matthew Rhys, which changed the setting from France to Britain and altered many other major elements of the story, brought some attention to it. But there's a previous version, a 1959 feature film directed by Robert Hamer and starring two of my favorite actors -- Alec Guinness and Bette Davis -- that I believe deserves to be much better known. (Hopefully, its release on DVD by Warner Archive will help with that!)
Read more... )
litlover12: (TKS5)

Just read this great essay by Ronald Neame, director of the film The Horse's Mouth (haven't seen it yet, but hope to soon). He's talking about a conversation he had with Guinness during filming:

". . . May I tell you something that may help you to understand actors?”

“Please,” I replied, “God knows I can do with it.”

What he said next should not be forgotten by anyone who wants to work with actors:

“All so-called normal human beings go through a period when they want to act. This is usually between the ages of ten and fourteen. Little boys play cowboys and Indians; little girls dress up in their mother’s clothes, putting on lipstick. As they mature into adults, ordinary people grow out of this adolescent phase and become doctors or accountants or bankers. But the actor, in the part of his mind that still wants to act, remains no older than fourteen. So, Ronnie, that’s how you must treat me. I need to be praised. I need to be patted on the back. I need to be told I’m good! And the more you encourage me, the better I will perform for you.” As an afterthought he said, “And sometimes, I just need to be smacked.”

You guys. Alec Guinness is my soulmate. We were made for each other. (The fact that he married someone else, and the fact that he's been dead for 13 years: minor details.) This is me. Substitute "writer" for "actor" and this is SO me . . . right down to the "need to be smacked" part.

We may never have met in this life, Sir Alec, but you get me. 
litlover12: (ATOTC2)
Damn the Defiant!, which I just Netflixed, is an absorbing little British war flick, and it also happens to star two of my very favorite men from the British classics, Guinness and Bogarde. Pardon me while I indulge in a few screencaps, won't you?


(I really should have said ear candy -- those two voices are something to swoon over.)
litlover12: (AH3)
After seeing The Lavender Hill Mob, I went on eBay and splurged on this postcard, of a behind-the-scenes moment. Not much of a splurge, really; I think it was something like 3 bucks. But it was nice to see two of my favorites -- one longtime favorite and one newer favorite -- together, even if Audrey's part was only about 20 seconds long! This was one of her very earliest roles.

alec audrey
litlover12: (LV)
They're giving us an Alec Guinness day AND a Maggie Smith day!
litlover12: (Classic men)
A side benefit of the British films project: I recently picked up a copy of Blessings in Disguise, the first volume of Alec Guinness's memoirs, when I saw it in a used bookstore. Just finished reading it last night. What a marvelous book. The man could not only act, he could write. Really write.

For those interested, I'll cross-post my Goodreads review below the cut.
Read more... )
litlover12: (ATOTC2)
Besides films in the BFI top 10, here are a few other British classics I've seen recently . . .
Read more... )
litlover12: (TKS5)
My excursions into the world of the British classics continue. I'm going to split this post into two parts, lest it become overwhelmingly long.
When is a top 10 not a top 10? )


Jun. 3rd, 2013 09:16 pm
litlover12: (So much)
I was going to do a nice long post all about British films . . .

. . . but I'm SO tired.

Maybe tomorrow.

A lost art

Jan. 23rd, 2013 09:16 am
litlover12: (Casablanca2)
Last night, after many, many increments of Lawrence of Arabia, I saw these words: The End.

(But then there was "Exit Music." Ah, '60s movies, I love you.)

Read more... )
litlover12: (ATOTC2)
I'm watching the most interesting and intense film, a British courtroom drama from 1959 called Libel. I was trying to get it finished tonight, but at a certain point I had to turn it off. I simply couldn't bear any more.

I couldn't help it. It's Dirk Bogarde's eyes. He does these things with them that make my heart turn over and my stomach tie itself up in knots.

(And that little quiver in his lips doesn't help either.)

I know there are some other classic film fans around these parts, so in case anyone's seen it, NOBODY SPOIL ME. I WILL hunt you down. I fully plan to finish this thing . . . as soon as I can get up the nerve.

Yes, I know, you don't have to say it. I need help.

ETA: Made it to the finish line at last. Oh my gosh, you guys, that was SO good. So so so good. See it if you get a chance!
litlover12: (FB)
I've got to hand it to David Lean, I really do. I can think of few other directors who could film long stretches of sand for long stretches of time and make it this fascinating!

Also, young Omar Sharif was kind of a stud. Wow. Between him and O'Toole, the desert's got pretty much all the eye candy a girl could want.
litlover12: (Casablanca)
I'm about a quarter of the way through Lawrence of Arabia, and I will concede, it's not bad so far. Truthfully, I'm sure that when you get Peter O'Toole, Claude Rains, and Alec Guinness on board, it's difficult to have it turn out badly. (Even if Guinness looks about as Arabian as a Yorkshire pudding.)

But -- forgive me -- I'm gobsmacked by the idea that that score won an Oscar and is hailed as one of the greatest scores of all time. Maurice Jarre seems to have gone to the "Hey, guys! I wrote two really great bars! I think I'll repeat them forty-seven thousand times!" school of composition.
litlover12: (TKS6)
Oh, will you look at that. Lawrence of Arabia is airing on TCM this very weekend.

'Fess up, now. Which of you jokers works at TCM?
litlover12: (ATOTC2)
I've decided I want to start watching more classic British films. A lot more. Every time I catch one on TCM or wherever (Kind Hearts and Coronets, So Long at the Fair, The Third Man, Stage Fright, Night Train to Munich, etc., etc.), seems like I end up being absolutely crazy about it. And their actors are splendid -- Alastair Sim (a.k.a. Awesome Dude), Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Dirk Bogarde, Dorothy Tutin, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway . . . I don't think I've seen one yet that I didn't like. Obviously we had some pretty magnificent stars on this side of the pond in the good old days, but it's kind of cool that there's this whole other pool of talent that I've only just begun to explore.

Plus, Audrey Hepburn had bit parts in a few British films before she hit it big over here, so it's always fun to be on the lookout for her!

I've found the BFI's list of the top 100 British films, which I plan to use as a guide of sorts. I say "of sorts" because I have no intention of following it slavishly. I won't watch animal movies, and I won't watch anything overly violent or sexual (here's looking at you, James Bond) or anything that would scare the daylights out of me (forget it, Don't Look Now), or anything that looks too boring. (I haven't made up my mind yet whether Lawrence of Arabia will make the cut. Every scene I've ever seen from it so far has bored me silly.) Plus there are films that aren't on the list that I want to see. But it looks like a pretty good place to start.

I shall keep you all posted on any particularly interesting viewing experiences -- assuming you want to be kept posted, that is! :-) And I'd be grateful for recommendations from anyone who has some!


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